- July 24, 2016
Rob Ramos needed a hug and Colby obliged by putting his front paws on Ramos’s shoulders. Colby was doing what he was trained to do – be a comfort to Ramos.
“Colby knows Rob is nervous,” Lauren Driscoll, dog trainer and program director of the Paws of War Florida chapter, told those who were gathered at the Beach Front Grille in Flagler Beach for the presentation of the dogs.
Ramos kissed the top of Colby’s head as the dog nuzzled closer.
“This dog, Colby, has turned my life around,” Ramos said.
Carly sat straight and alert, by her new owner Derek Logsdon’s side. It was obvious both dogs had already bonded with the two U.S. Army veterans.
The service dogs, specifically trained for the needs of the two veterans, were provided by Paws of War, a nonprofit organization that adopts dogs from humane societies and matches them with veterans with after-service injuries.
Ramos, who lives in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and was stationed in Panama in 1989-1990, suffers from PTSD. Colby has been trained to turn on lights before Ramos enters a room and get his medication for him.
Logsdon lives in St. Louis, Missouri and served in Afghanistan in 2012. Logsdon also suffers from PTSD and has a hearing loss, but now he has Carly to alert him to alarms in the night.
“This will be a game-changer for me, for my daily routine, and at night because I can’t hear at night,” Logsdon said.
The men and dogs spent time together prior to Thursday’s ceremony, with the men making trips to Flagler County to get to know their dogs.
Driscoll said she has trained 19 service dogs for veterans, to not only provide companionship, but also as a calming influence on the men should they become anxious.
“I’m so excited to once again be a part of this important mission,” Driscoll said. “Our veterans have given so much to us and we know first-hand how trained service dogs can help veterans suffering from invisible wounds. Too many of our veterans are struggling as civilians, so we are making it easier for them.”
Both dogs were adopted from the Fort Pierce Humane Society in Fort Pierce, Florida in February. Since their adoptions, Driscoll has been putting them through extensive training.
The veterans received an escort to the ceremony by the Blue Knights Law Enforcement Motor Cycle Club XXII, who stayed for the ceremony.
The Florida chapter of Paws of War, an all-volunteer organization, was launched in May 2015, and is located in Palm Coast. For more information about the organization, visit their website www.pawsofwar.org.